On the Existence of Optimal Taxes for Network Congestion Games with Heterogeneous Users
We consider network congestion games in which a finite number of non-cooperative users select paths. The aim is to mitigate the inefficiency caused by the selfish users by introducing taxes on the network edges. A tax vector is strongly (weakly)-optimal if all (at least one of) the equilibria in the resulting game minimize(s) the total latency. The issue of designing optimal tax vectors for selfish routing games has been studied extensively in the literature. We study for the first time taxation for networks with atomic users which have unsplittable traffic demands and are heterogeneous, i.e., have different sensitivities to taxes. On the positive side, we show the existence of weakly-optimal taxes for single-source network games. On the negative side, we show that the cases of homogeneous and heterogeneous users differ sharply as far as the existence of strongly-optimal taxes is concerned: there are parallel-link games with linear latencies and heterogeneous users that do not admit strongly-optimal taxes.
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